I keep going back and forth about author Philippa Gregory. I’ve read The Other Boleyn Girl and was disappointed because it was a trashy version of good historical fiction. Which is probably why it was a best-seller. But then I read Virgin Earth (a book not part of the Tudor series), and I absolutely loved it, giving Gregory kudos for her excellent research and story line. When challenged to complete series’ I’d started, I decided to give the Tudor series one more try.
The Constant Princess is the story of Katherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII’s set-aside wife, in the scandal that excommunicated him from the Catholic Church, and made England Protestant to this day. Everything I’d ever read or watched about Queen Katherine made her holy and meek, but Gregory paints a different picture. And given the events surrounding her life, I daresay a more accurate depiction. She is tough, and stalwart and sticks to her convictions. I like this Queen Katherine and I really liked this book. Reading about her years before Henry chose Anne Boleyn to replace her, was very helpful in not only understanding more about this remarkable woman, but gaining a better perspective on the events that followed. Yes, Gregory had to choose her view of the “truth,” and that may upset some readers, but it did make sense as a basis for the known truth that followed. Yes, there was a bit of romance and intrigue, but there was definitely that in King Henry VIII’s court, after all. I can’t fault the author for making that judgement call. All in all, this book was much more my style than The Other Boleyn Girl, and I look forward to the other books in the series.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006